Top executives of Elliott Aviation enthused at an NBAA 2002 press conference Monday about a number of new developments of the venerable family-owned corporate sales and technical services company, not the least of which is the rapidly approaching opening of its new completion center at Quad Cities Airport in Moline, Ill. Company president Wynn Elliott and Al Nitchman, vice president of operations, also reported on a variety of programs updating capabilities of the new or used aircraft it handles, including expected receipt of some 15 new STCs on advanced equipment to add to the more than 50 it already has.
Elliott told NBAA Convention News that while the company expects to upgrade all four of its facilities, the $6 million completion center at Moline is the “centerpiece” of the company’s growth strategy. “We have a five-year plan for each of our facilities, but none as extensive as at Quad Cities, which is our home base.” The center, scheduled for grand opening in March 2003, will provide a totally controlled environment for a fully integrated complex that will handle paint, interiors, cabinetry, cabin amenities and avionics mods for light to medium-size turbine aircraft.
In particular, he called attention to the ultramodern paint hangar developed jointly with JBI. “We believe collectively we’ve designed the perfect environment for this operation. The system we’ve established will monitor the air pressure within the ductwork and control the system to provide laminar flow around the aircraft.” The JBI design, he noted, provides a computer system that can read and monitor the utility system (amount of electricity and natural gas being used) to provide the basis for optimizing utility needs. The facility also is designed to recycle 60 percent of the air so that only 40 percent must be added that requires treatment for humidity, particulates, temperature, etc.
Nitchman pointed out that the company is continuing to make significant enhancements to its avionics STC portfolio. Among those in progress are a series centering around the replacement of the existing Hawker 700A EFIS and iron gyros with the new Collins Pro line 21 Continuum Flat Panel retrofit. STCs in progress for the system cover the Collins TCAS-4000 Aircraft Collision Alert System (ACS); Universal Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) with MFD-640 Flat Panel Display; Collins FDS-2000; Collins AHC-3000 Attitude Heading and Reference System (AHRS); and Honeywell Mark VIII Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).
STCs being pursued for other aircraft include the Universal TAWS/MFD-640 equipment and the Collins TCAS-4000 ACAS for the Falcon 10 and the Universal Electronic Flight Instrument (EF1550) and Universal TAWS with the MFD-640 for the Learjet 35/A.
The capabilities offered by new avionics such as the Collins and Universal flat-panel display systems is truly awesome, Elliott told NBAA Convention News. He cited the example of a customer who had a one-year-old King Air 200. “He still decided to have the current EFIS in the aircraft removed and replaced with a Universal five-tube-flat-panel package. He decided the advantages the new system offered made it worthwhile to install it in an aircraft only bought last year. The data that a system like Universal’s Vision 1 system gives the pilot is really amazing. It has a 3-D display that really enhances the pilot’s situational awareness of where he is and what’s going on around him.”
Nitchman called attention to the company’s continued work on improving the cabin environment for passengers. Since the mid-1990s, Elliott has worked with Ultra Electronics of Cambridge, UK, on adapting the latter’s UltraQuiet technology, used on the Bombardier 604, for King Air models. At Monday’s press conference, the companies announced they are collaborating on a new Active Noise and Vibration Control System for the Raytheon Beech King Air B200.
Keith Thomson, president of Ultra Electronics, told NBAA Convention News that his company produces two types of systems. “One is a loudspeaker system that just tackles noise energy, but not vibration, and the other comes in the form of a small shaker that pushes back on the structure to decrease vibration.” He noted these devices essentially are single-frequency control devices, but his company now is working on a broadband system that could combat large rushing-type energy sources.